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message 1: by Larry (last edited Aug 19, 2011 05:15AM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Should authors review each other?

As a member of noted Author and Novelist Warren Adler's newsletter list, I just received an interesting post in which the author of "War of the Roses" asks the question: "Should Novelists Review Another Novelist’s Novels?"
Not being a novelist, nor having pretensions in that direction, I had no answer but his question does raise a similar question in my mind. Should authors review each other? I'd love to hear the comments of all professional level writers at the Published Authors Biz group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/5...

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz


Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz


message 2: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments I've seen similar questions over the past year or so. Personally, I think to question who should review is rather silly. What's worse, is folks bring up issues which question the integrity of an author reviewing, simply because he/she reviews.

Are authors less qualified to have an opinion about books since they write them? Hmmm... How about this? Are authors less sincere about their opinions about books since they write them?

If author shouldn't review works, then who should? Maybe someone should come up with a list of requirements folks can check off to determine if they should be allowed to review or not.


message 3: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) | 48 comments Why shouldn't they? Many Goodreads authors review books, always by
other authors. Just because I have published, that makes me ineligible to judge someone else's writing? Hardly.


message 4: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Elaine wrote: "Why shouldn't they? Many Goodreads authors review books, always by
other authors. Just because I have published, that makes me ineligible to judge someone else's writing? Hardly."


It doesn't make an author ineligible, just suspect. Consider this, an author's reputation is their most important asset.


message 5: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments Larry wrote: "It doesn't make an author ineligible, just suspect. Consider this, an author's reputation is their most important asset."

Personally, I don't think authors started coming under suspect until other authors started making a big deal out of it.

Think about it... traditional published works had stamps of approvals by other authors for the longest time. Christine Feehan read C.L. Wilson's works? Hmmm... I liked Feehan, I wonder if Wilson's writing is similar. Think I'll check it out.

Then indie authors started fussing and asking leading questions. Can you really trust another author's opinion about a book? Should authors even be reviewing the works of other authors? Then you have folks saying, either authors who review are throwing sour grapes or just trying to boost their friend's crappy work. That's what I mean about questioning the integrity of a writer just because she/he writes, Larry. It wasn't "suspect" until folks started making a big deal out of it.

I write. I review. The issues I mention in my reviews also show up in other reviews. So how is it my opinions are suspect because I'm a writer?

The indie community can be extremely friendly, but it can also be very, very ugly. There's no shortage of vindictive Tasmanian devils growling in the night, waiting to latch on to its latest victim.


message 6: by Larry (last edited Aug 19, 2011 11:05AM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Reena, I'm pleased that Indie authors ask such questions. It shows that at least some have pride in their work. They are asking ethical questions and have concern for the future of Indie publishing.
I think that attitude is far superior to people churning out garbage and supporting it with a mutual admiration society as many are doing today. It shows there's hope for the future of Indie publishing and that it will survive. I, for one, don't want to see the return to an era in which traditional publishers act as the censors for an art form based on monetary potential rather than quality of work. However, that puts an onus on Indies, myself included to strive constantly to improve the quality of our business.
You talk about vindictive Tasmanian devils as though they are an affront to the buddy system that abounds on Goodreads. Actually, your "devils" may well be the only professionals here. They recognize this is business not a 'good ole boys/girls' actvity. Warren Adler, a best-selling author is shifting his work to EBooks. Does that make him a devil, just because he earns a handsome living with his writing?

Because I've earned my living as a professional writer for decades, you probably see me as one of the devils. Publishing is a multi-billion dollar industry not a club.

Devilish me.

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz


message 7: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an open invitation to a new form of chronyism. If people review each others books, what are they going to write if the book is not so good, and that author is reviewing their book?

I write. I review. But I review a different genre than I write. I choose the books I want to review. Not beholden to anyone, I am free to state my opinion. I'll buy a book that interests me, and post a review on my blog.

Chapter two is happening now>> People read my reviews, and respect my writing and reasoning. they send me an email asking me to review their book. I ask for a pdf to read so I can review their book. They reply, they want me to buy their book so I can review it.

This latest twist - please give me free help to market my books by writing a great review at my request, and by the way - i want you to buy the book - has happened several times recently. I do not have unlimited funds to buy books in order to help authors with free marketing copy (i.e. a review). If someone asks for a review, the least they can do is send me a digital copy of the book.

One author, to her credit, sent me a pre-release pdf of her book. It was amazing, and I wrote a review saying just that. She said she plans to quote me on the dust jacket. Whether or not she does that, at least she provided a free copy to back up her request.

I'm not asking to be paid by authors to write reviews. but I think I should not have to pay to write the review at the authors' request.


message 8: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments I have to disagree. Accusing authors who review as either throwing sour grapes or praising crap to boost their buddies is not showing pride in one's work. It's saying authors can't be trusted in general. That isn't helpful to anyone in the indie community.

I do agree some authors boast about their buddies without believing what they're saying, but to question the integrity of authors who review as a whole is very -ism. Authors are individuals with subjective opinions and motivations just like everyone else. Labeling them as lacking integrity is NOT helpful.

As Priscilla mentioned, if a book is good, it's good; if it's not, it's not. Why should an author have to keep quiet about their opinions? What is wrong about recommending an enjoyable book?

Folks who follow reviews will learn for themselves whom to trust. I have my favorite reviewers, and I'm sure others do also. They don't need folks telling them author's can't be trusted.

And if you think a clique of writers attacking another writer like a pack of rabid dogs is professional, well... there's nothing I can do about that. :) I'll just kindly disagree.

But like I said, there are plenty of friendly folks in the writer community (both indie and traditional). I was cruising the bookstore yesterday, thinking about how friendly this or that author is--some of the NYT Bestselling authors. Folks don't have to be ugly to rise to the top.


message 9: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an open invitation to a new form of chronyism. If people review each o..."

I made a mistake - once - in agreeing to do mutual reviews. The other author specified fair and honest reviews. I believe we both complied. Unfortunately, I still feel guilty because I thought her writing was substandard by any honest measure and gave her just one star. I've decided to not ask for any more reviews by other writers.

I think we see eye-to-eye on reviewing. There are far to many bad books being given good reviews as a quid-pro-quo.

Just one thing, what did you mean by: "I should not have to pay to write the review at the authors' request." ??


Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz


message 10: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an open invitation to a new form of chronyism. If pe..."

clarifying> if an author asks me to review, i think the author should not ask me to buy the book. Imagine, if i write good reviews, how broke i'd be in a very short time.


message 11: by Larry (last edited Aug 19, 2011 02:47PM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Reena, with all possible respect, after 45 years as a publishing industry professional I totally disagree with your comments including "either throwing sour grapes or praising crap to boost their buddies is not showing pride in one's work. It's saying authors can't be trusted in general. That isn't helpful to anyone in the indie community." First, sour grapes and crap are your words, not mine. Second, handing out praise for garbage writing is EXACTLY what will destroy the new-found freedom that Indie writers enjoy. It's rather like the French Revolution. The French people overthrew the king then went on a binge of killing and destruction they nearly destroyed what they had wrought. Writing books is not a hobby except for dilletantes and bored housewives. It's a business and profession just as any other. If it were surgery, would you condone the work of a doctor who butchered his last dozen patients? I hope not. Neither should aspiring authors condone (your word) crap from others just to gain a nicey-nice meaningless review.

You also say: "Folks who follow reviews will learn for themselves whom to trust." Maybe here on Goodreads, but that's the goal. The goal is to have the reviews on Amazon and other major sites where the goal is to sell books not have a mutual admiration society. I doubt most serious book buyers "follow reviews" to learn which trustworthy and which are frauds.
Remember, every time a person gives a good review for a book that fails all the standard writing criterion of plot, characterizations, structure, etc., that writer is aiding an abetting a fraud being perpetrated on the buyer.
Also, and perhaps more importantly, colluding for good reviews with other writers is absurd. Regardless of the "social networking" terminology, other writers aren't your "friends." They are your competitors seeking to sell their book, not yours.

By the way, I'm not alone in my feelings, best-selling author Warren Adler recently commented: "Perhaps I am uncomfortable with the practice because mainstream non-genre novel writers are, despite loud protests to the contrary, in fierce competition with other mainstream novelists."

Sorry if I'm too blunt, but I get frustrated with the amateur/wannabee mentality that pervades thinking of many Goodreads authors. I assume they're influenced by the perceptions of readers, but need to remember that authors and readers aren't necessarily on the same side.

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz


message 12: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Reena wrote: "I have to disagree. Accusing authors who review as either throwing sour grapes or praising crap to boost their buddies is not showing pride in one's work. It's saying authors can't be trusted in ge..."

with all respect, Reena, no one has been accused of anything. It is my personal opinion that it looks bad and reflects poorly on the profession to have a standard of "you review mine and i'll review yours." the possibility here, from a position of professional ethics, is that some people will write disingenuous reviews and falsely praise others, rather than to alienate a friend.

then reviewing, in general, will carry no respect.

my thinking on this stems from the years when I studied and then taught professional ethics.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Martineck (MichaelMartineck) | 1 comments A review means most when you know the reviewer. If she's a cop or a steamfitter or a novelist doesn't matter. The reviewer's taste and temperament matter. Insight, experience, prejudice - it's all fine and expected. I just want to know about it so I can weigh the review.


message 14: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments Perhaps we have a misunderstanding. In no way do I suggest authors write praise for garbage. I am saying that if an author reviews it doesn't automatically mean they are untrustworthy, which is what many seem to imply. Hence, the comment that reviews from authors either look like throwing sour grapes or giving false praise. Authors do not have to fall into those two categories. There is another category -- authors who give honest reviews.

Whether the reviewer is an author or not is irrelevant to the reviewer's integrity. Authors should not be on trial for their reviews simply because they're authors.

I'm not denying authors are in competition with one another. It's true. However, I can still like a competitors work. For example, I'm a fan of Kresley Cole. I get nothing from praising her work. She probably doesn't even know I exist. Yet when folks ask me who I like to read, she's at the top of my list. Am I giving false praise every time I review one of her books? If she writes a piece I don't enjoy, and I blog about it, does that mean I'm throwing sour grapes because I'm jealous of her success?

Reading preferences go beyond competition.

I'm for HONEST reviews. I DO NOT CONDONE fake reviews for the rise or demise of an author. Being an author who reviews does not make a person more or less dishonest than the next reviewer.


message 15: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments I agree, Priscilla. I have seen cliques of authors who review one another... auto 5-star rating. That's not okay in my book.

However, that doesn't mean authors shouldn't review. The topic question was: Should authors review each other?

And my answer is yes, if they feel so inclined. Go for it. Give an honest review.


message 16: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Michael wrote: "A review means most when you know the reviewer. If she's a cop or a steamfitter or a novelist doesn't matter. The reviewer's taste and temperament matter. Insight, experience, prejudice - it's a..."

i will counter your offer, Michael>

a review carries the most power when it is written by a stranger who:
1. loves well-written literature
2. is knowledgeable about writing, and writes well about it
3. has no stake in the outcome of the review

the purpose of a review is to honestly evaluate a book for the interest of the buyer, not the author; unless the author trusts the reviewer enough to value the reviewer's criticism and learn from it.

which takes us back to ethics and opinion again. sigh.

i'd rather be an editor.
which I am, from time to time.


message 17: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Reena wrote: "I agree, Priscilla. I have seen cliques of authors who review one another... auto 5-star rating. That's not okay in my book.

However, that doesn't mean authors shouldn't review. The topic question..."


yes, Reena - that is the source of my statements. the auto-5 star review because they are Goodreads (or whatever) buddies. for the same reason, i am unlikely to take very seriously the review written by the publisher. because the publisher has a stake in the game.


message 18: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla wrote: "Michael wrote: "A review means most when you know the reviewer. If she's a cop or a steamfitter or a novelist doesn't matter. The reviewer's taste and temperament matter. Insight, experience, pr..."

Priscilla, I feel your frustration. Really wish the aspiring authors and wannabees would start to take writing seriously rather than as a hobby.


message 19: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an open invitation to a new form of ch..."

Have you actually had an author ask you to buy a book in order to review it? I'm incredulous! Also outraged. Anyone who does that doesn't deserve the title of author or writer, but rather is a rank amateur, with emphasis on "rank." After 45 years in various aspects of publishing, including as senior level publicist for major national P.R. agencies, I'm astonished. That transcends customary practice in the industry. Admittedly, I might actually buy the book just so I could make a major issue in the review of the total ineptness of such an author. Suffice to say, it would also get the lowest possible ranking. OUTRAGEOUS!


message 20: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Michael wrote: "A review means most when you know the reviewer. If she's a cop or a steamfitter or a novelist doesn't matter. The reviewer's taste and temperament matter. Insight, experience, prejudice - it's a..."

Michael,
I must totally disagree with your statement that "A review means most when you know the reviewer." Perhaps it means most to you if a friend or relative gives you a good review. To the vast public, it clearly demonstrates Priscilla's comments about crony-ism. Such a review carries about as much wait with prospective buyers as a spec of dust being blown off a book jacket.


message 21: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (ReenaJacobs) | 66 comments Despite the amount of time I spend on writing-related activities, I still consider writing as a hobby. I certainly don't make enough to call it a career.

Right now, I consider it a serious hobby which yields a small income, but holds the potential to become a career.

I suppose I'm really mincing words here.


message 22: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Reena, absolutely nothing wrong with what you're saying. Most writers don't start off with paid jobs. As in every other worthwhile field, you have to earn your spurs, hone your talents. I actually admire your honesty and realistic attitude. Keep that attitude and persevere. I may be quoting someone but: In order to do it, you have to want it.

Best,


message 23: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Reena wrote: "Despite the amount of time I spend on writing-related activities, I still consider writing as a hobby. I certainly don't make enough to call it a career.

Right now, I consider it a serious hobby w..."


There are several things I think about in order to call someone a professional in any milieu:
1. high level of technical expertise
2. professional approach to process/product
3. validation by respected peers (be careful with this one)

intentionally didn't say anything here about time or money. Hone your craft. Earn the respect of excellent writers. Don't worry so much about dollars.


message 24: by Dr (new)

Dr | 134 comments I am reading a book by J Steve Miller----Sell More Books!. I think a lot of your questions can be answered in this book. I have found this book to be very informative, interesting and very well organized. Steve is an author, I am an author, I did not discuss making this post with him nor has he asked me to do so. I just wanted to let everyone know that authors can and sometimes do write a review for other authors that they admire and appreciate.


message 25: by Larry (last edited Aug 20, 2011 06:19AM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments It seems I'm a trend-setter. In another Goodreads group, Shawn just posted the following, along with my response.

Shawn wrote: "Here's an interesting article very pertinent to this discussion and reviews from the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/tec......"

Shawn, thank you so much for posting that story. Interesting that fake reviews are dilluting the value of the remainder. Didn't I say something like that? :-) Oh yeah, I did. I especially liked the following passage from the New York Times story: “The whole system falls apart if made-up reviews are given the same weight as honest ones,” said one of the researchers, Myle Ott. Among those seeking out Mr. Ott, a 22-year-old Ph.D. candidate in computer science, after the study was published was Google,.."

I also must admire the mild language used by the Times: "...an industry of fibbers and promoters has sprung up to buy and sell raves for a pittance." I would have used stronger terms: ...an industry of liars and con artists attempting to defraud book buyers.

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz


message 26: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an open invitation t..."

Yes, Larry - someone read my blog, loved my reviews, and asked me to review his book. My blog has nothing to do with his genre....

i replied by private email, introduced him to industry standards, and asked him to send me a pdf to review. Given my expertise in the subject matter of his memoir, I was willing to read his book and post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and a few other sources I know about. He refused to send a pdf, and instead asked me to buy his book because he had priced it to sell easily as an ebook and he wanted to sell copies. I did not purchase the book.

He admitted to knowing absolutely nothing about the book industry and thanked me for the information.

I introduced him to the concept of a marketing plan and marketing materials, and offered to negotiate a reasonable fee to help him with marketing. He said he couldn't afford to put money into marketing. But he was interested in having me volunteer to help him with marketing and design/produce a free video trailer for him....

the entire experience was quietly offensive.


message 27: by Priscilla (last edited Aug 20, 2011 07:19AM) (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "It seems I'm a trend-setter. In another Goodreads group, Shawn just posted the following, along with my response.

Shawn wrote: "Here's an interesting article very pertinent to this discussion a..."


speaking from an entrepreneurial point of view...$5 for a 5-star review? for the time and effort, should be worth at least $100. (only kidding...)


message 28: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. the M.A.S. is an ope..."

Priscilla. You have to laugh (to keep from crying.) I guess it's the fault of (certain segments of) writers that they're valued so little. No one would think of asking a doctor, architect, engineer or even a lawn maintenance company to work for nothing or next to nothing. Writers, in their egotistical rush to have bylines or other credits often give away their work for little or no remuneration. They often express a "so what" attitude about those of us for whom writing is our livelihood.

I've been experiencing the same thing for nearly half a century and it's getting worse, not better. If a person learned how to pen an essay in school, they fancy themselves as writers. Minor things like training, practice, knowing how to construct a story or plot, characterizations and the myriad other items are of no concern. Such things would delay their efforts to adorn themselves with the unearned title of author or writer. Arrrgh!


message 29: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Larry, I was just going to mention "the mutual admiration society" that i see developing. then i read your post. th..."

Larry, don't get me started - the graphic design business is just as bad. people think because an online company gives them a template to put together a business card (or whatever) they are automatically as skilled as an award winning graphic artist.

I pitched a project to a local business owner. she shouted back at me "you only want to make money!" huh? and she doesn't? I quoted the $1/$9 investment/return in marketing...and I no longer shop at her establishment.


message 30: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Oh, believe me, I know. :-(


message 31: by Lin (new)

Lin Pardey | 14 comments We are on the road driving across the driving across the USA enroute to a book promo tour for my latest – a memoir which is getting very warm reviews. So haven’t been able to catch up with this discussion. (We normally live on a boat or in New Zealand) Thus my thoughts may be a bit late.

I write nautical books (narratives and how-to) but my latest is a memoir in the mode of A Year in Provence and is getting lovely reviews. My husband and I are quite well known among those who like boats or sailing because we have written loads of magazine articles and presented several hundred sailing seminars. Therefore we get lots of requests from authors and publishers to review books. A surprising number of these books are thrillers or novels with nautical themes.

I have developed a strategy that works for me. I always ask for a print-out or galley of the book, not a pdf. If they don’t want to send that, they really don’t want a review and I don’t want to pay the cost of downloading it over my very costly satellite based broadband account. If I like a book, I review it. If not, I write to the author and say, would they like to discuss some ideas that might be useful as I do know what nautical readers are after. More than half write asking for any ideas – I have even had a publisher offer to pay for my assistance (a small amount but a nice gesture.) Through the years this policy has gained me a lot of nice mentions in acknowledgements and some good friends. I didn’t hear anything from the others, neither positive nor negative.

Only bad experience I have had was when a man wrote suggesting we trade reviews. Among other references he offered he said he was close friends with the president of the company that distributes our book to the trade. When I got his book I hated it, bad writing, insulting to women, crude story and I couldn’t imagine who his audience would be. I did nothing. Then he started sending ever more pushy emails asking where his review was, then threatening to write a negative review of my book on Amazon if I didn’t live up to “my end of the bargain.” I learned he barely knew the people he offered as references. Finally I wrote saying his depiction of females was offensive to me, thus I couldn’t review the book. I never heard another word.

Reason for writing, beyond sharing how I handle review requests is, I feel strongly that a reviewer’s job is to be the readers advocate. Unless you have really read someone’s book and like it, the idea of “liking” each other’s books, or exchanging reviews does not benefit anyone and could ruin the reputation of all indy publisher/writers (my husband and I publish most of our own books lately).

Sorry if I have gone on too much about this.
By the way, my husband and I established our career by writing lots of magazine articles before we turned to books. Built an audience. I am sure there must be some way to do something similar for those who write fiction. Definitely would be easier than trying to get noticed from a standing start.

Best wishes,
Lin Pardey
www.linpardey.com


message 32: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Lin, some interesting insights that I hope a lot of the aspiring authors here read. I've been having some interesting discussions (as well as some that became heated when authors felt there's nothing wrong with quid-pro-quo reviews by "authors" who act more like a high school clique than writing professionals.

Don't know how many forums you follow on Goodreads, but here's a posting today that (unfortunately) reinforces many of my concerns about the future of an industry in which I've been involved for nearly half a century.

Are books dead, and can authors survive?
At the Edinburgh international book festival this weekend, Author Ewan Morrison set out his bleak vision of a publishing industry in terminal decline.
At the heart of his argument, are the aspiring authors, amateurs and wannabees that are deluging the EBook industry with sub-quality prose.
The British newspaper: The Guardian quotes Morrison: “The reason why a living wage for writers is essential is that every industry that has become digital has seen a dramatic, and in many cases terminal, decrease in earnings for those who create "content".
Morrison makes numerous telling points, many of which I’ve previously commented on. The article link below should be “must reading” for every professional author. It also should be must reading for the wannabees who have no skills but wish to boast they are “authors.”
Part of me hopes that Morrison is wrong, but the part of me that’s been in various aspects of the publishing business for 45 years realizes he’s all too correct.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/aug...
Part of me hopes that Morrison is wrong, but the part of me that’s been in various aspects of the publishing business for 45 years realizes he’s all too correct.
Would love to read your take on the situation.


message 33: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Lin, some interesting insights that I hope a lot of the aspiring authors here read. I've been having some interesting discussions (as well as some that became heated when authors felt there's noth..."

for 20+ years, the computer industry has promised the end of paper. we are more inundated with paper than ever before, most of it computer generated.

for 15+ years, music industry reps have said the emergence of indy musicians on the internet, with anyone and everyone able to upload and attempt to sell their 'musical compositions,' would permanently ruin the quality of music available. Despite the prediction, most music genres still require the concert tour, and the best in their genre still rise to the top.

for 10+ years, media experts have predicted the end of music formatting as we know it, with only digital downloads available. We are now experiencing a resurgence of vinyl records.

Classical music has not died.

in May 2011, 6 million Americans closed down their facebook pages.
People are becoming more discerning in their relationship with the virtual world.

my conclusion> even with the increase of ebooks written by amateur writers, it is most likely that the literature industry will follow the pattern of the music industry. Books will continue to be printed, although the major publishing houses will likely consolidate or fall, with an increase in online small presses selling both print and digital books. The profession we call 'writer' is changing, as Morrison details.

But good literature will still triumph over mediocre. People will still want to feel the weight of a book in their hands, and will still want to feel the texture of paper when they turn the page. People will still cherish elegant story-telling with delicious language.

We no longer keep accounting records on clay tablets inscribed with stone styli. someday the book will likely become an archaeological artifact. but as accurate as Morrison is with his details of change in the industry, I think he's being a bit of an alarmist with his conclusions.

then again, if he's right, my few signed first editions will be very valuable just in time to pay for my declining years....


message 34: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla, I'm in my "declining years" and I'm as alarmed as Morrison. Apparently we're not alone of he wouldn't have been a major speaker at the Edinburgh International book fest. But, I've been through lots of industry changes, including the advent of newsroom computers, the death of Linotype operations followed by zinc platemakers, color on Page 1, the death of UPI, etc. This is one time I'd be delighted to be totally wrong. I've been a writer for 45 years and deeply love it When people ask: what do you do? My response is: I AM a writer.


message 35: by Priscilla (last edited Aug 23, 2011 07:06AM) (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Priscilla, I'm in my "declining years" and I'm as alarmed as Morrison. Apparently we're not alone of he wouldn't have been a major speaker at the Edinburgh International book fest. But, I've been..."

my great-grandfather was a printer. I have boxes of lead type, wooden caps and old copper plates for 4 color images. you may be interested in a film that should be available soon: linotypefilm.com

Plenty of very smart and informed people have been wrong - look at Wall Street. In the late 1800s, cultural prognosticators proclaimed the end to painting as an artistic form because of the advent of photography.

from the beginning of language there have been storytellers, and from the beginning of written language there have been writers: heiroglyphics on Egyptian walls; the Gilgamesh epic on 12 clay tablets in cunieform script. (i have taught the history of writing to my creative writing students and those who took my classes in hand paper-making and book-binding).

books will change, but most likely print will not be entirely dead in our lifetime, and books will not disappear. Language and story are hardwired in the brain, part and parcel of the stuff that makes us human.

there will always be writers, and a physical form for story.


message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisalickel) | 8 comments More pertinent to authors interviewing authors is how are you reaching your reading audience? Yes, authors read, too, but we are notoriously cheap and don't tend to purchase books we can review for free. Thus, our objective should be to build new audience, and if some of our new audience comes by way of already popular and favored authors through networking/interview by/with them, it's crucial to take advantage of the opportunities. But...if your only marketing is through other authors, then we tend to degenerate our marketing strategy to authors promoting authors, instead of promoting our books to readers.


message 37: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Excuse me! Please don't take it on yourself to speak for all authors. I've bought and read, at conservative estimate, close to 3,000 books over the years. Most at full list price. I've reviewed less than five books at maximum. Frankly, I've always been too busy earning a living at writing to be doing unethical quid-pro-quo reviews. (I'll review yours if you review mine and well both give each other five stars-a practice that's unethical at the very least.)


message 38: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisalickel) | 8 comments I buy a lot, too, Larry, and I'm definitely not speaking for all authors. I review books for several companies, publishers, and blogs, and I when I find someone I love to read I go and buy others. I'm not that rare, though I rarely give five stars.


message 39: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Lisa wrote: "More pertinent to authors interviewing authors is how are you reaching your reading audience? Yes, authors read, too, but we are notoriously cheap and don't tend to purchase books we can review for..."

Lisa - you are right; reaching out to the potential reader is absolutely the key. that's why before the manuscript is finished, I have identified my market, and the book is being written for that market. I have my marketing plan in place and am working on developing contacts while i continue to write.

new authors put too much emphasis on the almighty written review. while positive reviews are helpful, the best selling tool is your own person - in the form of personal appearances and talks, radio interviews and TV interviews.


message 40: by Sheron (new)

McCartha Sheron (Sherimc) | 9 comments @Larry "At the heart of his argument are the aspiring authors, amateurs and wannabes that are deluging the ebook industry with sub quality prose."

Whoa there! This is the problem of traditional publishing that think that unless they have blessed a novel, it is not worthy. What! There has been plenty of trash put out by the big publishers and a lot of good writing has gone by the wayside because they made the hurtles to jump through at their leisure too complicated or subjective. The reader will decide now and we may find many of the new ebooks both exciting and of high quality. Sure, there's going to be some crap, but that has always been the case. You are making a sweeping unfounded generalization founded on supporting an industry that is now in trouble and needs to change.


message 41: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Priscilla wrote: "Lisa wrote: "More pertinent to authors interviewing authors is how are you reaching your reading audience? Yes, authors read, too, but we are notoriously cheap and don't tend to purchase books we c..."

Based on your comments, you've either read my book or understand the situation quite well! :-)

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz


message 42: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Sheron wrote: "@Larry "At the heart of his argument are the aspiring authors, amateurs and wannabes that are deluging the ebook industry with sub quality prose."

Whoa there! This is the problem of traditional pu..."


Sheron, First, let me be on record that I'm TOTALLY in favor of EBook self-publishing. I'll never waste my time again with even a small printed-on-paper house. BUT:

Yes, the traditional publishers have produced bad books. But percentage-wise, the numbers are higher and the quality worse than what comes through traditional channels. I've read and heard about books that are so bad then you be returned immediately to the author for a complete rewrite, yet amateur authors with few skills are able to publish without any editing or plotting.

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz

Molly's Revenge by Larry Moniz


message 43: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Sheron wrote: "@Larry "At the heart of his argument are the aspiring authors, amateurs and wannabes that are deluging the ebook industry with sub quality prose."

Whoa there! This is the problem of traditional pu..."


I won't name names, Sheron, but there is a very popular and prosperous novelist these days who is a terrible writer; dangling antecedents, tense and tone inconsistencies - he wouldn't get higher than a "C" in high school English class.

But he knows how to tell a tale. His stories are riveting, beautifully paced nail-biters. His characters are real blood-and-guts humans, all of them with compelling personalities and motivations.

Many times, the publishers know what will sell and they will print it - regardless of whether or not it is 'literature.' While epublishing will likely, at least for the short run, allow forum for a high percentage of mediocre wannabes, probably in the end it will be a good thing for those of us who are good writers, have a good story to tell, and will never make it over the increasingly raised bar set by print publishers.


message 44: by Sheron (new)

McCartha Sheron (Sherimc) | 9 comments @Priscilla I don't think it was so much a "raised bar" as a bottom-line. They were deluged with manuscripts of wannabe writers and often went with what they knew would sell...so the time, attention and money often went with the sure winners, or authors who had proven themselves rather than a new writer. There was also a lot of rules that I found ridiculous such as no simultaneous submissions while I waited two years for a response...and then it took over two years to get it on the shelf. No, something had to change, and while it may be painful for a while, it will all sort out and I think we will be for the better.


message 45: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Sheron wrote: "@Priscilla I don't think it was so much a "raised bar" as a bottom-line. They were deluged with manuscripts of wannabe writers and often went with what they knew would sell...so the time, attentio..."

i think we are talking about the same thing. when i say raised bar, i'm not talking about quality of writing. maybe hoops to jump through would have been a better ametaphor.

my book will probably make really good money and never see the shelf of a bookstore - i'm marketing to organizations that will refer the reader directly to me.

also, i am marketing my graphic design and copy-writing services to writers as my niche design market - we'll see what happens, all around.


message 46: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Sheron, the no simultaneous submissions was a ploy to keep the hordes of writers at bay and to ensure no bidding wars ensued. God forbid two houses should see a book as attractive; the author might accidentally receive fair treatment.
I agree that something had to change, but future change is also going to be required of amateur authors -- they're going to have to truly learn how to write and invest in a high quality editing job.


message 47: by Dr (new)

Dr | 134 comments Larry, you stand out as a leader and a person that can organize, improve and restructure the self publishing industry. We need a little of your ethical advice and honest promotional tactics. I always enjoy your comments and listen to what you say. When we give a five star review, it should be for a good reason and not because someone did it for us. When we tag a book, we should do it because it deserves to be tagged and not because someone tagged ours. Our books will be around for a long time, the better books may last for centuries. I think it is important that we leave a legacy of good works. RM


message 48: by Larry (last edited Aug 25, 2011 01:21PM) (new)

Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) | 181 comments Excuse me while I blush. Hope the neighbors don't mistake me for a traffic signal.
Thank you, that's one of the nicest compliments I received in years. It helps to balance the snarky people on Goodreads who have no concept of what it takes to be an author.
As to organizing the self-publishing industry, I have neither the financial nor health resources that would take. In addition, the numbers are too skewed toward wannabees who prefer a 'WILD WEST' situation rather than a successful long-term EBook industry.


message 49: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Larry wrote: "Priscilla wrote: "Lisa wrote: "More pertinent to authors interviewing authors is how are you reaching your reading audience? Yes, authors read, too, but we are notoriously cheap and don't tend to p..."

Haven't read your book, Larry. Sorry about that. Or maybe not - meaning, I have a natural sense about marketing. probably comes from my years in the psychology field - having to understand underlying motivation for behavior.


message 50: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Pertinent to the conversation>

http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.5/ri...


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Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising

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Books mentioned in this topic

Murder in the Pinelands (other topics)
Self-Promotion for Authors (other topics)
Molly's Revenge (other topics)
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